Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Description of Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Take your family off the beaten track and into this life changing primate rehabilitation centre. Work hands on with baby monkeys and baboons to help prepare them for life in the wild. Both kids and adults alike love the volunteering, the location and the pace of life in the African bush.

Home to 400 rescued monkeys and baboons all waiting to be released to the wild, this is an inspiring family run project looking for helping hands. Each day you and your family will be helping to prepare food for these hungry cheeky monkeys, feeding them, cleaning out their enclosures, taking them to the pool and watching over them as they learn about life in the wild. You will be working with the baby and juvenile primates to help prepare them for life as part of a troupe. For the very young this involves bottle-feeding, bathing and providing arms for them to sleep in!

The centre needs volunteers all year round, and there are always things to be done. The busiest season for baby monkeys is November – February, so if you can see yourself as a surrogate parent to a baby monkey then this is a great time to go. Baboons are born throughout the year, so there will be young around whenever you choose to go.

This project has a lovely family feel, with volunteers all sitting down together for meals. Evenings are spent relaxing out on the terrace- usually with several monkeys, dogs, cats and other rescued creatures joining you!

There is an on-site outdoor swimming pool to enjoy, as well as some lovely areas to relax with a book. For those looking to explore the area, there are possibilities to visit Kruger National Park, explore some beautiful gorges, visit an ancient baobab tree and even do some zip trekking. Please be aware however that these trips will come second to any immediate work that needs doing at the centre.

Many of our family groups have enjoyed spending one or two weeks here as part of a greater holiday, often going on to enjoy a safari at Kruger National Park.

This is an amazing opportunity for both adults and children alike to get stuck into some conservation work, to understand a different culture and step off the beaten track to experience South African bush life.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1Arrival day is a Monday. Other arrival days possible on request. You will be collected from Phalaborwa (PHW) airport and driven up to the centre, a 90 minute journey away.
Day 2You will receive a full induction and tour- and get fully stuck into the project! Expect lots of monkey hugs!
Day 7 / 14Return to the airport or head on for further family travels

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this. But we make sure that local people benefit too by choosing projects that bring tangible improvements to their lives.

Pre-departure preparation
All of our participants receive comprehensive pre-departure briefing. This covers topics on how to be culturally sensitive, how to best look after the environment when in the country and how to stay safe as well as up to date information on the political situation. They are also briefed on how to dispose of waste properly and where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles as these are not easy to dispose of environmentally.

Meaningful rehabilitation
For rehabilitation to be lasting and meaningful, there are various stages that the primates need to go through. Most of them will arrive at the centre at a very young age, having lost their mothers or troupe in traffic or domestic accidents. Very much like humans, they need contact and comfort for the first 15 months of their lives. This is where the volunteers come in. The project has been designed with welfare, conservation and success at the core with university studies and monitoring ensuring its merits throughout. The rehabilitation process takes about 4 years in total: 1 year - 18 months where they need constant care, feeding and bathing, then the latter time to distance themselves from humans, form part of a troupe and be released to the wild. This is carried out using larger enclosures with less food over time, encouraging them to fend for themselves. The latter stages of rehabilitation are all about rewilding, at which point they can be released back to the wild a long way from this centre.

Environment overseas:
We send out comprehensive pre-departure briefing, which includes a section on protecting the local environment. In particular we advise participants to take care with water, which is scarce in many of our destinations. We recommend they avoid unnecessary washing, using hand wash gel where they can. We also instruct them on how to dispose of waste properly, not to litter and, where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles which are not easy to dispose of environmentally. Those going trekking are advised to keep to marked footpaths so as to prevent further erosion of the landscape.

Environmental efforts at home:
Our company is an environmentally responsible one that operates recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid.

Community

The importance of the project:
The centre started when its founder rescued a monkey from death and abuse and realised that help was needed for many more. It was decided to establish a centre where orphaned, abused, injured and mis-placed monkeys could be treated and rehabilitated. Now the centre is held up as an example of good practice by government bodies as well as NSPCA. It also has links with academic research organisations. However, funds are tight and charitable donations and voluntary help are crucial for its survival.

Meeting local needs:
As well as helping to protect monkeys and other animals, this rehabilitation centre plays an important role in protecting the local economy. This rural area relies on its wildlife and landscape to attract tourists, as there are no big cities nearby. The centre brings visitors to the area and has created jobs for 9 local people. It also promotes local art and helps villagers to market their wares to tourists. By helping at the centre, our volunteers are ensuring its survival and allowing it to expand the number of animals it can help. They also contribute to the local economy themselves, creating jobs for domestic staff at the centre, eating locally grown produce and shopping in the town.

Cultural sensitivity:
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural South Africa. Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

Reviews of Family volunteering with monkeys in South Africa

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 12 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being hands on with the monkeys and baboons

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Leave plenty of time to change planes in Jo'burg

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Supported conservation

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I'd rate our holiday as excellent and would recommend to anyone

Reviewed on 08 Dec 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being chosen by a monkey.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Let it happen... don't force yourself on the animals. They will choose you and they will decide whether to spend their time with you on their terms.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. This is one of the projects where the animals will eventually be set
free to spend the rest of their life outside of fences.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I loved it.

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